Lottery system of admission hampers quality

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An alumni of Doon School and St Stephens’ College, Sumer Singh, Principal, Daly College, Indore has been Head of the Lawrence School, Sanawar for seven years and Director of the Asian School. He also taught at the Doon School and at Gordonstoun, Scotland, Boxhill, St Anne’s, England and UWC, Wales. He was Advisor (Education) Government of Punjab. Author of three books-’Doon The Story of a School’ and ‘Unity in Diversity’ and ‘The Daly College’ share his experience on changing school education system in India.

How has education sector evolved over past last five years?
The school education is not healthy. With all good intentions to provide free and compulsory education, the government has enacted a law which will definitely lower the educational standards and competency in this country.

Would you like to share any major obstacle faced by Daly College?
More and more Indians desire to provide good education to their children. The demand for admission in good schools is growing much faster than the number of seats available. Possibly the biggest challenge being faced by us at Daly College is the pressure for admissions that we are unfortunately unable to meet.

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Would you like to comment on Supreme Court guidelines on ragging?
The Supreme Court had ruled that schools must take firm action against cases of ragging. But, at the same time, the Parliament has ruled that a school cannot take any mental or physical action against any student nor can they suspend or expel them. It is indeed tough for school authorities at times to deal with such cases on campus and punish the students in case they violate the guidelines.

What are the new initiatives undertaken in your school?
Our school believes in student initiatives and student leadership. There are any number of innovations taking place on a regular basis. These include building of hostels in the school for hearing impaired and mentally retarded in the Missionaries of Charity Home; toilets for girls in government schools; a green club with demonstration centre; garbage management; resource centre for students of Indore; and a course for foreign students on Indian Culture..

What are the special training programmes undertaken by your school for teacher development?
Our teachers are supported to take part in workshops and regular educational upgrades. Nearly 30 teachers travel abroad every year.

Please share your experience as an administrator.
As an administrator, I realise that the major challenge is to keep up with all the suggestions and resultant changes that occur owing to student and staff initiatives.

Would you like to comment on the impact of RTE on school education?
Parliament has now stopped us from conducting entrance tests and therefore the very basis of our existence has been challenged. Admissions these days are merely based on lottery. Merit is no longer a key factor in granting admission to a student. This practice will obviously lead to degradadtion of quality of education in the long run.

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